The gathering of more than 500 outstanding next-fall-to-be senior girls from California will not take place, reports Zana Chaney, Girls State coordinator for the local American Legion auxiliary.

However, on the originally slated June 22 date, the state director of the Girls State program will go online with the girls chosen at many high schools — including the three Delano public high schools, Alpaugh and McFarland.

The state director will outline procedures to be taken to qualify for the Girls State pins and a certificate of participation. Chaney said she was unsure if a complete course on Girls State would be part of the procedures.

Local delegates to Girls State were selected by an interview committee in March. The local American Legion Auxiliary had planned fundraisers in order to sponsor the girls, but fundraisers were canceled due to the coronavirus situation.

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After postponement of the April 18 Delano Relay for Life, a much later event in the fall is still possible, reports Tonia Nool, community development leader for the Delano event.

Continuing information on the event may be found at wwwrelayforlife.org/delanoca, or people may email tonia.nool@cancer.org.

The money tally in early April was $41,189.96, and the more than 20 teams and their captains continue online to work for funds that could vault the campaign to the established goal of $100,000.

“Cancer won’t stop, so we are not stopping our drive either,” said Nool.

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Cesar Olivares, a sophomore forward for the Cesar Chavez High School boys soccer team, has been selected to the 2019-20 All-Area boys soccer team, as announced in The Bakersfield Californian.

Olivares was an all-South Sequoia League performer with 14 goals and four assists to lead the Chavez Titans to a second-place finish in the SSL. The team also advanced to the central section Division 4 semi-finals.

Chavez players gaining honorable mention in All-Area were senior Osvaldo Andrade and senior Carlos Maciel.

McFarland High’s senior Alejandro Soto and freshman Erick Velasquez also gained honorable mention.

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Daisy Valdez, a Robert F. Kennedy High School junior, has been named to the All-Area girls’ wrestling team by The Bakersfield Californian. She competed at 150 pounds and won the Southeast Area title and placed third at the Masters to qualify for the state meet.

Kennedy junior Dezirae Alejandro was named honorable mention in wrestling.

Coach of the Year was Brett Clark of Frontier High. He formerly coached wrestling and taught at Delano’s Cesar E. Chavez High School. A couple of years back he was the chief speaker at the Delano Sports Dinner.

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Before schools adjourned for the school year due to the coronavirus, Delano High School had an active Chess Club.

Geejhon Fontejon was president and historian for the Delano High club, while Andrew Valdovinos was the treasurer and David Quintero was the student body representative.

Sharing the position of secretary were Giann Mendoza, Francisco Andrade, Caleb Cadiz and Connor Hufnagel.

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I was close to three former Delano High cheerleaders who were in the cheer program for all four of their high school years and now all three are at Cal State Bakersfield. Lupita Reyes was on the Cal State dance team this year and Ruthchie Galanta and Lexie Chavez on the cheer squad.

In The Californian, I have noticed that candidates for the coming year’s dance and cheer teams are holding “virtual” tryouts. Video submissions, a headshot photo and letter of recommendation should be emailed to spirit@csub.edu by May 5. For specific video and team requirements, visit https://bit.ly/2Xs7102.

Coaches just recommend an open space with good lighting. “Be safe, be creative, and we can’t wait to see your submissions,” said the coaches.

A news release reported teams are open to current and future Roadrunners who want to help support the athletic department and university as a whole.

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In a recent Herb Benham column, he wrote, “I’ll tell you what will lift the clouds is hearing Jim Gibbons laugh. Jim, the former general manager of Jim Burke Ford, lives with his wife, Nancy, in Arroyo Grande. He has a million-dollar laugh and right now, it’s going up in value every day.”

I knew Jim when he was a local Lions Club member, and Nancy was a grade younger than me. She rode the Bakersfield College bus her freshman year, which was my sophomore year. She also was on the school newspaper at Delano High and was selected Delano’s Harvest Holidays queen.

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Michael McConnell, a Porterville High School 1967 graduate, read my Ramblings column sometime in the past and contacted The Californian’s Mark Nessia, who contacted Delano editor Ema Sasic, who emailed me to respond to a request from McConnell regarding the whereabouts of former Delano High athletic star Joe Nigos.

Nigos was a graduate in 1967 who played football his senior year in 1966. He was inducted the first year of Delano High’s Football Hall of Fame ceremonies (later the Hall was changed to Athletics rather than just football). From the same team the inductees included Gary Johnson, now residing in Porterville, and Mike Cercone, now in Bakersfield. At least, that was their residences back in 2009.

McConnell said that Delano had spoiled a perfect season for Porterville that year. Delano’s only loss was to Taft in the season opener, 21-19, and that was because three Delano starters had been injured in a pre-season intrasquad scrimmage and Delano had fumbled inside its own five yard line, leading to an easy Taft touchdown, and Delano also fumbled the ball away inside the Taft 5 when Delano had been on the march

In five league games, Delano gave up just one touchdown in a 26-6 win over Porterville. That TD was suspect because a Porterville runner at about the Delano 25 charged into the line and the play appeared to be stopped. The runner then retreated, raced around the end and ran to the end zone as everyone else on both teams seemed to be in a stupor — in disbelief that the play was not over.

Delano coach Gene Beck did not like to “pour it on” against opponents, but he did not like to be scored upon. I remember at Tulare that Delano had a four touchdown lead in the final minutes when Tulare against Tiger reserves marched to a first and goal at about the 3-yard line. At that point, Beck turned to his sidelines and commanded the first-team defense to get back into the game and stop the drive — and they did! Nigos had been the middle guard on defense and was one of those starters on defense to also be directed to get on the field and stop Tulare from scoring.

Anyway, back to McConnell and his memory that he had been run over at cornerback all night by a guy named something like “Nicro.” I told him it was Joe Nigos who had gone on to Bakersfield College where he was the Renegade prime running back for two seasons. His first season was plagued by a late-season injury, and so he was not in prime shape when wrestling season began. Thus, Nigos lost his first match of the season in a four-way meet in Arizona but then won something like 50-plus consecutive dual and tournament matches to win the state JC title two years in a row.

He was also a running back at Cal Poly, but an injury kept him out of wrestling his first year at Poly, but he did do some college wrestling after that.

At the Delano Hall of Fame event I spoke with him briefly, and he said he was retired from coaching wrestling in the San Jose area.

I still remember when Nigos was a freshman — he lived in Ducor and had a long trip each day — and how he impressed at a pre-season scrimmage. I was among many in the stands during the scrimmage who saw him racing all over the field and making hard tackles. Within five minutes everybody was asking me who was that guy and I checked on the sidelines and reported back to the crowd. I can’t recall any other freshman being so impressive that he gained that much interest so rapidly.

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